Well, here we are - the final chapter. Huge thanks to everyone who has been reading and reviewing. Hope you like the way things work out.
"Should I be afraid?" he asked. Please don't tell me I should be very afraid. Don't tell me you think we've gone as far as we can and this is it.
"Well, that all depends. Exactly how attached are you to this apartment?" A plan had been formulating in her mind, and the meeting with his neighbour that morning had only helped to crystallise matters. She hadn't been able to resist sewing a few seeds of doubt in the old lady's head, knowing what a reputation she had for gossiping poking her nose in where it wasn't wanted. Every week Marty regaled the team with some new tale about how she'd tried to interfere in his life. He wasn't alone in this – all the tenants in the whole block gave her a body swerve. Plus, she had a cat that was forever leaving decapitated corpses in the shared hallway, in the attractive way that cats have.
"Not especially. I mean, it's nice enough, but it's only an apartment." Marty had this sinking feeling of dread in the pit of his stomach. He had this awful feeling that he knew exactly what was going to come next.
"So you wouldn't mind moving?" This is going better than I expected.
"As long as I'm still near the ocean." Please don't ask me to move in with you, Kensi. Please. I really couldn't cope with that.
"That's all you're bothered about?" This is going to be a breeze.
"Pretty much. Near the ocean, decent amount of space. Somewhere kind of cool." In other words, somewhere that's nothing like that tiny bolt hole you call home. No wonder it's always in such a mess – there's not enough room to swing a cat. Not even that mangy beast that lives downstairs. Far less have adventurous sex without clearing a space for yourselves first of all. Which kind of takes away any spontaneity.
"I've always fancied somewhere with a roof terrace," Kensi confessed. "Don't you think that would be nice – coming home and then sitting out with a glass of wine and watching the sun set?" Come on – that sounds like heaven. Just admit it, won't you?
"It would be even nicer if we could see the ocean," Marty agreed. Okay – I can see exactly where you're going with this, Kensi. And you're right – it's a great idea. Possibly the best idea you've ever had, in fact. But I think I'll just let you lead me down that path a little further.
"Yeah – but a place like that that would cost the earth. And I could never afford somewhere like that. Not by myself." Kensi sounded as plaintive as she possibly could.
"Probably not. That's a pity. It would have been really nice. " Marty pretended to think for a moment. "Unless… " He looked at her and then shook his head. "No, I probably shouldn't even ask. Forget I even mentioned it." Kensi, despite that lesson in how to bluff at poker, I can still see right through you.
"No – go on. Please." Kensi sat bolt upright and stared at him. Ask me, damn you. Just ask me.
"Well – and this is only an idea, right? I mean you don't have to say yes. It's not like I'm going to be offended. Devatated maybe; hurt – probably. But not offended. Okay?" She looks like she's going to explode.
"Go on." Come on Marty. You can do it.
"How would you feel about us moving in together?" Aw, God love you, Kensi. I can't spin this out any longer. Not when you're sitting there, looking at me like that. Looking like I've just given you the moon and the stars to play with.
"Wow. That one came out of left field. I'm going to have to think about it." Kensi looked astonished when Marty nearly rolled off the sofa with laughter. "What did I say that was so funny?"
"How about you just show me the apartment you've already got picked out?" he suggested, between wheezes of glee. "It'll be a whole lot simpler that way."
"See? I told you this would be nice." Kensi sipped her wine and looked out at the roof terrace. So what if you had to crawl out of the bedroom window to get to it? The apartment was just perfect and once they'd finally unpacked all the boxes, it would be home.
"And you were right. As usual." Marty craned his neck." I'm almost certain that if I just stand on the table, I'll be able to see the ocean."
"Don't even think about it. The table's brand new and you've already got a broken arm." Kensi grabbed hold of his shirt and pulled him back down.
"Exactly what are you more concerned about – me breaking the table, or me breaking my other arm?" he asked curiously.
"Both. And it was terribly convenient the way you managed to do that just days before we moved in."
"Sam and Callen managed just fine without me, moving all our stuff. If they ever need to get another job to pay the bills, I reckon they could set up on their own as moving men. Anyway, it wasn't like I broke my arm on purpose. And if you hadn't got in the way…"
"Don't try to tell me it was fault you broke your arm chasing a suspect. Why would I do something like that?"
"Same reason you shot me in the butt? To have me all to yourself?"
"Sometimes, Marty Deeks, you are so conceited it's untrue. You're not that great looking."
"Can I help it if you think so?"
"Okay, you've got me there." Kensi gave a sigh of contentment. "This really is great, isn't it?"
"Uh huh. I can see right down your blouse from here."
"Pervert. You want to be serious for a minute? Before the others get here?"
Marty heaved a martyred sigh. "Kensi – you've chosen the world's best apartment. It's great, you're great - even the wine is great. Actually, you're right. Life is great. Pretty much perfect. Apart from the broken arm, of course."
"What do you like best about it? The apartment, I mean?"
"Seriously? You have to ask me that?"
"I have to ask you that. Go on – tell me? It's this roof terrace, isn't it?" She leant forward, eyes sparkling.
"Not exactly," Marty admitted.
"Oh come on. Just because you found that cast and sling a bit difficult to manage getting out of the window. It'll get easier, I promise. And anyway, it's not it's that far down to the street. Only a couple of floors"
"It's far enough. I don't bounce, you know. I just tend to land on concrete with a loud thud that denotes several more broken bones."
"Okay. So it's not the roof terrace. Stop avoiding the issue. What do you love most about our apartment then?"
"Apart from the fact that you're in it? Okay - how about the fact that before tomorrow morning I plan to make love to you in every single room? Including the hall. And the roof terrace."
"Oh. Okay. That works for me." Kensi looked at her watch. "We've probably just got time to get started before the rest of the team gets here."
"I don't like to be rushed," Marty protested, as she propelled him back to the window. "Some things are too good to be rushed."
"Don't worry: we've got all the time in the world." Right now, Kensi felt that life was pretty damned perfect. And they were only just beginning. She really must have done something pretty incredible to deserve to be this happy.
I must have done something amazing
in my last life,
something I do not remember
—because they sent me you
in this life—
you with your tigery eyes
& your strawberry mouth
with your funny beard,
& your cosmic cuddles
& your fuzzy stomach
& your solar plexus
glowing like a sun
I must have done something astounding—
won a holy war
built a great cathedral,
carved a marble statue of the pope
which was a perfect likeness
(flattering yet true)
because they sent me you.
I must have saved a species from extinction,
invented penicillin, radar, soap,
or maybe even marbles,
chocolate mousse, celery tonic,
washable latex paint...
I must have been a saint.
After being alone for far too long and struggling to find a meaning in life, there came a time when it was pointless denying how you really felt, when you simply had to acknowledge that love had crept up on you unawares and had claimed you. There came a time when you could no longer convince yourself that you were not in love, because love was, quite simply, the most important thing in the world and everything else was only incidental. And there came a time when it seemed as if life was finally complete, because you had found the one person who made everything perfect and nothing else mattered at all
Like the ending?
Wonder what on earth they're going to get up to next?
I have a plan... but then I usually do!
Look out for "You're Still The One I Want", coming soon!